Giants leave Winter Meetings empty handed, signaling the end of an era

The MLB Winter Meetings in Orlando produced nothing but hot air and crushed-dreams for San Francisco Giants fans.

And that’s OK. The Giants don’t need to splurge and increase the second-highest payroll in baseball. Frankly, Brian Sabean and Bobby Evans don’t need to prove anything this season.

Since Sabean ventured to the Bay Area in 1993, when he joined the Giants as an assistant to the general manager and vice president of scouting/player personnel, the team has wheeled and dealed whenever it was in contention.

Whether it was being ballsy and trading away fan favorite Matt Williams to Cleveland for José Vizcaíno, Joe Roa, Julián Tavárez and Jeff Kent before the 1997 season, or getting duped into giving the Twins Francisco Liriano, Boof Bonser, and Joe Nathan for A.J. Pierzynski at the end of the 2003 season, Sabean made moves that he felt would help bring World Series titles to San Francisco.

Sabean should be applauded for willing to trade any high-level prospect for proven everyday major league players. And winning the 2010, 2012 and 2014 World Series titles will be remembered forever. But it’s time to put those special times in the rearview and rebuild.

Showering players like Todd Frazier, Jay Bruce and J.D. Martinez looks sexy on paper, but that’s not going to get the team where it wants to go. This organization not only struggled at the major league level in 2017, but throughout their entire minor league system too.

Like all of the great dynasties — from the Oakland A’s in 1970s and the San Francisco 49ers in the 80s to the 1990s New York Yankees — all great things come to an end. That’s just pro sports.

Let’s admit it: we’ve been spoiled rotten as Giants fans. Since AT&T Park opened, we’ve been treated to some consistently good baseball. We can go through a rebuild and patiently wait for the payroll to dwindle while the next Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner develop.

The Winter Meetings, which wrapped up Thursday, were a harsh reality for those who love the Orange and Black: They’re no longer considered to a threat on the diamond in the short term, and when you have one prospect ranked in the top-57, you’re screwed in the long term. And if you allocate your money foolishly — like the Giants have in recent years — you have no hope.

Sure, it’s going to be a tough sell to icons like Posey and Bumgarner to play meaningless baseball. But after tried their best to woo Giancarlo Stanton and Shohei Ohtani to the Bay, even Posey has to realize this won’t be a quick fix.

The time is now to try to get rid of Brandon Belt’s contract — which escalates to $17 million in 2018 — and wait for the contracts of Hunter Pence and Denard Span to expire after this season.

It may take Sabean and Evans to espouse an entirely different philosophy, which this organization seems willing to do.

They’re not on the level of the Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Rockies — and the Padres have a leg up on them when it comes to payroll flexibility and young talent.

Blow it up. Every dynasty comes to an end. It’s the Giants’ turn to realize that.

Bonta Hill of 95.7 The Game can be heard from 12-3 on the Greg Papa Show. Born and bred in San Francisco, he is a sports junkie who loves to sit in the lab (home), eats breakfast food for dinner, and has a newfound love for tequila. Follow at your own risk on Twitter @BontaHill.

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